Sheffield's Economy


While iron and steel have long been the main industries of Sheffield, coal and other mining has also been significant, particularly in the outlying areas. For example, limestone from quarries in the nearby village of Anston was used to build the Palace of Westminster in London.

Although Sheffield is renowned world-wide for its production of high quality cutlery, knives and small tools, these are not the only products for which the city is famous. In Sharrow, a mile or so west of the city centre, Wison's Snuff Mills, established in the 18th century, still uses water power to produce a variety of powdered tobacco snuffs to closely guarded family recipes. Across the city to the north, founded by George Bassett in 1842, Trebor Bassett still make their world-famous Liquorice Allsorts. At the end of WWI the same company launched a new product to celebrate the occasion, 'Peace Babies' later to become known as Jelly Babies.

Other areas of employment include call centres, the City Council, universities and hospitals.

Sheffield is also a major retail centre, offering many High Street and department stores as well as designer boutiques. The city centre's main shopping areas are on The Moor precinct, Fargate, Orchard Square and the Devonshire Quarter, while shopping areas outside the city centre include the Meadowhall shopping centre and retail park, Ecclesall Road, London Road, Hillsborough and the Crystal Peaks shopping centre. Sheffield's main market is the Castle Market, located above the remains of the castle.

After many years of decline, the 21st century has seen extensive redevelopment and a strong economic revival in Sheffield. The economy has steadily grown by around 5% per year (a greater figure than that of the broader region of Yorkshire and the Humber), with the city's GVA (gross value added) having increased by 60% in recent years.

In 2003, the Sheffield district of Hallam was the highest ranking area outside London for overall wealth, with almost 12% of people earning over 60,000 a year. A 2004 survey placed Meadowhall 20th and Sheffield 35th on a list of top retail destinations, and during the second half of that year Sheffield was the fastest-growing city outside London for office and residential space and rents. Throughout 2005 a further 250 million was invested in the city, and by 2006 Sheffield's economy was worth 8.7 billion (2006 GVA).

The "UK Cities Monitor 2008" listed Sheffield among the top ten "best cities to locate a business today", with the city occupying 3rd and 4th places respectively for best office location and best new call centre location. The same report put Sheffield in 2nd place for availability of financial incentives, and 3rd regarding "greenest reputation". Also in 2008, Meadowhall came 12th and Sheffield city centre came 28th in a survey on spending potential.

Sheffield has a District Energy system that utilizes the city's domestic waste by incinerating it and converting the resultant energy to electricity. This also provides heat and hot water, which is distributed via two networks totalling over 40km (25 miles) of pipes beneath the city. Energy generated in a waste plant produces 60MW of thermal energy and up to 19MW electrical energy from 225,000 tonnes of waste.